At Town Council
Wednesday, Jul 23, 2014 06:00 am
Cardiff Corner lights up
Morinville drivers have a safe way to turn left onto Highway 2 at Cardiff Corner as of this week.
Alberta Transportation officials turned on the new traffic lights at the intersection of Hwy. 2 and Cardiff Road south of Morinville on July 17.
The lights were initially set to flash red on Cardiff Road and Township Road 554 and yellow on Highway 2, said Alberta Transportation spokesperson Jamie Friesen.
“On the 22nd (Tuesday), they’ll switch into full traffic signal operation.”
This intersection, known as Cardiff Corner, is a frequent site for traffic collisions due in part to the large amount of cars that turn left off Cardiff Road onto Highway 2.
Alberta Transportation had planned to build a $50 million interchange at the location as a solution, but ditched that in favour of a $1 million set of signal lights due to a budget crunch.
Installation of those lights happened earlier this summer.
Crews installed additional light standards to illuminate the area and painted a second left-turn lane onto Cardiff Road. They also dropped the speed limit on Highway 2 in the run-up to this intersection to 80 kilometres an hour from 100.
The net result is that drivers will now be able to turn left off Cardiff Road onto Highway 2 without dodging highway traffic, Friesen said.
“They won’t have to gun it, basically.”
Residents will not be able to turn left unless they have a green arrow and oncoming traffic a red light, Friesen said. This is known as a protected left-hand turn.
The light standards at this intersection can rotate to accommodate oversized loads, Friesen said.
Morinville & District Chamber of Commerce president Simon Boersma previously voiced concerns about the placement of those light poles, saying that trucks could run into those poles when hauling particularly large loads in and out of town.
Alberta Transportation and contractor Al-Terra Engineering have since repositioned the poles to accommodate most loads, Boersma said. Some of the biggest loads may eventually have to use a service road just north of this intersection, he added.
Morinville Mayor Lisa Holmes said she hopes the new lights will make this intersection safer in the short term.
“Our community is growing quickly, and we are relying on the province to make the construction of an overpass at that intersection a reality within the next five years,” she said.
Alberta Transportation will monitor this intersection for several weeks to make sure the lights are synchronized properly, Friesen said.
Town grows 10 per cent
Morinville’s latest census numbers suggest that the town has added just over 800 new people to its borders in just three years.
The Town of Morinville released the initial results of its 2014 census last week. Census workers polled residents earlier this year online and in-person to get an accurate count of the town’s population.
The census found that about 9,402 people called Morinville home in 2014 – about 833 more than in 2011 (the year of the last census). That works out to an increase of about 9.7 per cent.
About 40 per cent of town residents completed the survey online, reports a press release from the town.
Holmes said she was excited to see that so many people had chosen Morinville as their home.
“Our growth rate speaks not just to our location close to major urban centres, but also to the sense of community pride that we are working hard to create.”
This fast growth means a greater need for affordable housing in town, Holmes continued. For this reason, the town is currently doing a needs-assessment with the Sturgeon Foundation to look into the need for seniors’ housing.
Holmes said the town gets about $250 more in provincial grants per new resident, which should help it manage its population growth.
Full census results will be presented to council this Aug. 26.